a cut for war refugges

Cutting hair for free helping war refugees!



Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to tell you about an action we have managed to organize through Facebook, thanks to the help of about twenty hairdressers from the city of Mannheim.

In September 2015 in the Mannheim Neckarstadt reception centre there were about 500 war refugees! The presence of such a high number of people in an extremely limited space makes it difficult to deal with their primary needs. Also the care for one’s body becomes minimal! We had learnt from volunteers that the centre’s guests wanted to have their hair cut because in their countries of origin, especially for men, it was normal to go to the barber’s to shave and, naturally, to have a haircut.
After traumatic escapes and once arrived in Germany, they soon realised that having a haircut at a hairdresser’s was unaffordable, but at the same time it was fundamental in order not to be misjudged and not to have to fight against biases due to one’s appearance.
When a colleague learnt about this and another posted it on Facebook, our action started. Soon four hairdressers turned up and on Sunday, 27 September 2015, they were ready to put their time and skills at these people’s disposal!
Near the reception centre there is a youth centre. We contacted the centre’s staff and they were available to help us providing their premises!
All the hairdressers brought the work tools with them together with garments, food, razor blades, shampoo and other materials that had been donated to give out to the refugees.
That’s how we started! A volunteer from the centre accompanied the first few people who dared to get out of the reception centre to the youth centre.
Despite the language barrier and the initial fear, it became quickly clear that we could communicate with body language and started getting very busy!
When the first people went back to the reception centre nicely shaved, the others learnt about our activity, interest grew and the youth centre grew increasingly more crowded! It was mostly men that came, but some women too wanted to dare and try German hairdressers. We created a reserved corner for women in the room so that they could take off their headgears. Two women colleagues did their hair.
Many refugees felt uncomfortable about receiving this help free of charge. This is why I only took the 2 photos attached hereto as a souvenir, to respect their privacy.
Since then, about 20 hairdressers from Mannheim have cut hair to about 300 refugees from different countries. None of the participants will ever forget this experience.

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